Margaret Waage contributed to reporting for this story, firstname.lastname@example.org
A high-profile mixed-use development in Canton will be the new home of Reformation Brewery’s main warehouse and production location starting next year, the company announced at Woodstock’s Cadence Fair on Saturday.
The Georgia-based brewery, which recently opened an experimental brew facility and taproom in downtown Woodstock, has now been tapped as the first tenant for The Mill on Etowah in historic downtown Canton and has plans to open “an adjoining taproom and events space in early 2019,” the company said in a written announcement first provided to the Tribune.
The new nearly 30,000-square-foot Reformation space will be located at 141 Railroad St. in the more than 30-acre property to be developed as The Mill on Etowah mixed-use development overlooking the Etowah River. The Mill is “an adaptive reuse development” reviving the former Canton textile mills and is set to open by the summer of 2019, according to developers. The project is expected to include a “retail market” and shops, restaurants, music venues, office space, green space and potential residential units.
Reformation Brewery co-founder and CEO Spencer Nix said the company’s decision to expand was a response to its rapid growth and a need for additional production and storage space.
“We needed to expand production capacity for some time, and The Mill allows us to meet those needs while also providing a great space for hosting community events,” Nix said.
The local brewery cited access to nearby shopping, restaurants, river use and green space as part of its decision to strike a deal with project developers led by Penn Hodge, Grant Schmeelk and Ben Habeck, adding that joining The Mill at Etowah is a “unique opportunity to invest in the future of Cherokee County.”
“It’s not only a unique opportunity to meet our needs for expansion, but also a chance to locate next to the Etowah River and participate in the renewal of a historic mill in the city of Canton,” Nix said.
Schmeelk echoed Nix in the brewery’s announcement, adding that Canton “has all the historic bones” to create a unique development for Georgia, or potentially the region. He said The Mill on Etowah developers and the businesses that elect to join the project are fortunate to have the chance to be part of the restoration and transformation of the historic location.
“We hope The Mill on Etowah, anchored by Reformation Brewery, will become a destination for all who wander into north Georgia and a place to celebrate its wonderful gifts,” Schmeelk said.
Local economic development officials also weighed in on the news over the weekend. Misti Martin, president of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development, said Saturday that the partnership between Reformation Brewery and the 250,000-square-foot Mill on Etowah will help to grow Cherokee County’s name in the region and represents one of the Cherokee community’s core values: sustainability.
“The Mill on Etowah is a perfect example of preserving history and embracing our natural resources. Having Reformation, one of Cherokee’s most successful startups, expand into The Mill and drive this mixed-use development is monumental for Cherokee and the region,” Martin said.
Nix said his company’s announcement does not endanger the future of the Reformation taproom at 105 Elm St. in downtown Woodstock, which celebrated its grand opening last week. He told the Tribune on Thursday that the Elm St. location will continue to “innovate and shape the future of Reformation in Woodstock.”
Beer lovers will be able to enjoy a cold brew from a local company at a long-awaited new watering hole in downtown Woodstock starting at 1 p.m…
“It will always be home, and we’re committed to participating in the thriving culture of this city,” he said. “We exist to serve the community with a place to gather and celebrate together and hope our legacy as a brand reflects that purpose everywhere we go.”
The company’s previous production headquarters was located at 500 Arnold Mill Way in Woodstock. That location, now named The Foundry, will be available for event rentals until at least the end of 2018, Nix said.
The developer trio purchased the Canton property in February from the Jones family, who founded the denim-producing mill in 1899 and operated it until it closed in 1981. Along with the iconic brick mill, The Mill on Etowah project also encompasses six additional buildings. Project developers said a key component of the project will be the rich history of the area, and each company that will be a part of it is encouraged to tell their history as well as the history of the community.
CANTON – As a developer transforms most of a downtown street into a parking area for its new mixed-use development, just two houses remain on …
Stefanie Joyner, executive director of the Cherokee County Historical Society, said Thursday that the society is supportive of the mill’s redevelopment, but added that they would want the history of the nearby residential “cotton mill village” to be considered in future redevelopment.
“There were residential houses built for the mill workers around Mill No. 1, which is what (The Mill on Etowah) is, and then also around Mill No. 2, where the Canton Mill Lofts are now. We kind of refer to them as Village No. 1 and Village No. 2.,” Joyner said. “We recognize (that) the houses are smaller … and there’s not a lot of parking. But we would just like them to be considered, rather than someone just coming in and bulldozing all of them.”
The preservation of the Mill at Etowah helps to tell part of the city’s history, but half of that same story should include the narrative of the workers who lived in the surrounding homes, she said. The small homes could be converted to small shops or starter homes, which Cherokee County desperately needs, she said.
Overall though, Joyner said, the historical society is “very pleased” that developers have decided to focus heavily on the city’s history in planning the future of the “new Canton.”
For more information on Reformation Brewery or its locations, visit www.reformationbrewery.com. For more information about The Mill on Etowah, including leasing information, visit etowahmill.com or contact email@example.com.
Correction: A previous version of this story referred to Grant Schmeelk as Grant Schmeeltz.